To free the land, you must first free your mind...

This is a conceptual platform for the expression of ideas and issues initiating discussion and action. The communiqué's are my perceptions, opinions and vision about contemporary issues/causes, people I admire & respect, and my goals for the future. My main focus is on the Chahta People by sharing our past to plan for the future today!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Empowering the Chahta People

Some of you have heard about the Choctaw Voting Block through my posts or other sources. Its' emergence in the world of the Chahta people is one that came from the people themselves. The ones who got an up-close and personal look at how things are being ran by executives and upper management of the Choctaw Nation administration; the ones who experienced unfairness and double-standards; and from those who were here at the beginning.

This is not an indictment against every employee of the CNO, but those who have the power to make things better or worse for a Chahta citizen. Such abuse of power should never be allowed to grow to the extent it has, and to some of our people it is frightening. I am outraged that our own people feel they cannot openly express themselves with fear of losing their job/services or that a relative may be terminated upon baseless allegations from which there is no recourse.

Recently, we held a public meeting of the CVB in Broken Bow and we had a good discussion in our small group about the history of the current CNO, constitutional issues, and elections, resulting in abuses of power. I imagine as we travel to other Chahta communities,we will hear a lot more, and we want to hear more so that as our numbers grow we can develop strategies to bring transparency, fairness and equality.

It will be a long process to get where we need to be since elections for tribal districts 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 12 will be next year. And in 2015, elections for the Chiefs Office and 
Tribal Districts 1,2,3,5,8, and 11 will take place. One method, along with public meetings in the districts is to establish chapters of the CVB in each district to organize community discussions of these issues and the needs of the people and our children and their children. If some of the executives and managers had their way, the CNO would just be a plain old corporation, but as we have been informed, the CDIB holders are in the way.

The people who run for these offices are our public servants, they should be working for us. Without us, there is no Choctaw Nation. It is important that we begin to consolidate our voices so that the future candidates will know what is expected of them.

So as this organization develops, stay connected with us and consider inviting us to your area. We would be happy to discuss issues, possible strategies in putting outspoken and committed representatives in the positions of council and Chiefs office. One popular discussion is how we can bring about a constitutional amendments or revisions with checks and balances that will hold those elected accountable to the people.

If your Chahta and want to stay current of what we are doing, subscribe to my blog and the CVB. I feel it is an important and sacred responsibility that every Chahta citizen and voter know what we will stand for and hope to achieve, the more our voices come together, the more effective we will be. This is the CVB position:

To ensure the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is revered and cared for with the empowerment of Choctaw people in mind.  Ensuring success, we will nurture and provide the tools our Choctaw people require so that our Choctaw Nation caretakers will be Choctaw tribal members.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma in the future will be a proud people whose government put their welfare above all else.  Choctaw children will be encouraged and empowered to become future leaders of our nation, our elders will be revered and respected.  Our businesses will support the education, the employment and the entrepreneurial spirit of our Choctaw people.
Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
  1. Respect all things that are placed on this earth whether it is a person or plant
  2. Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes, and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.
  3. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.
  4. All people make mistakes. All mistakes can be forgiven.
  5. Bad thoughts cause illness of mind, body, and spirit. Practice optimism.
  6. Avoid hurting the heart of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.
  7. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.
  8. Respect other beliefs. Do not force your beliefs on others.
  9. Keep yourself balanced. Your mental self, spiritual self, emotional self, and physical self all need to be strong, pure, and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.
  10. Serve your people with a clean spirit – take nothing that doesn’t belong to you and take care of what belongs to us all
If you live near Broken Bow, feel free to send me a message. Those of us who were at the recent meeting will make some plans to have discussions about these issues, and we'll announce a time & place.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Call to the Citizens of the Chahta (Choctaw) Nation!

Choctaw Voting Block

Voters Registration & Potluck Dinner

July 21 (Sat.)
 Meeting 5 PM (dinner 6:30 or 7 PM) 


The Chahta People will be having council & Chief elections in the upcoming years, 2013 & 2015. As a people who survived the Trail of Tears and Death, we owe to our ancestors and future generations to shape our nation as we wish it, and that is an administration that is responsive and ACCOUNTABLE to the people!

We are all familiar with the problems, but let us come together and create our solutions together. It didn't become this way overnight, and it will take time to bring our voices together from across our Chahta Nation and across the land so that we can state what we expect from future candidates; whether it is Constitutional Amendments, employee rights or modifying the way our elections operates.

Please tell your Chahta friends & relatives, even if they live in different districts, to come and join us for more information and a dinner, please bring a dish. For more information, Contact Ben between 6 PM & 7:30 PM about the meeting/dinner or Stephanie at 417-439-9791 about the meeting. 

If you are online and want to learn about more issues being freely expressed. go to this blog:


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Need your votes today!

Vote for us - The deadline is today and we are counting on our friends and customers to come through for us. Voting ends at midnight!
Each business needs at least 250 votes to be considered for a $250,000 grant. Eligible small business applicants will then be judged by a panel of business experts.
1. go to

2. search by location "Oklahoma" and then a list of cities appear click on Broken Bow (not Broken Arrow) and you will see Dirty Girl Soaps
3. Then vote. This site uses Facebook to log in
Thanks Ben and Kitty
Thank you for supporting Native owned!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Defining Our Confiscated Identities

What’s in a name: Indian, American Indian, Native American, Indigenous, Native or First Nation, they are used to describe the peoples that inhabited this hemisphere with their own unique civilizations, language and culture at the time of early contact. None of these names or terms existed prior to the wayward voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Due to the popular myth of discovery, we became Indians either because Columbus described us as “Indios” meaning with God or unto God, or the belief he was searching for India, to which some sources point out the country was called Hindustan in 1492. The label Indian stuck until Congress imposed the American Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, although some of the treaties made earlier also forced citizenship, as with the Choctaws who remained behind in Mississippi at the time of the forced removals known as the “Trail of Tears and Death.”

History has been well documented that the intent of America was to kill the Indian, thereby saving the man during the reservation and boarding school era of the 1800’s and 1900’s. The genocidal attempts at eradicating a people of their culture, language and spirituality through their children have left an impact that is felt to this day. The damage could have been worse, but the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the warriors and leaders who fought with the federal government in battle or in negotiations, remembered the betrayal of broken promises and treaties. With the civil unrest that took place in the 60’s, Native people began speaking out and demanding America live up to its promise.

The audacity of these young Native men and women assuming militant and unyielding positions not only embarrassed and angered the federal government, but it shocked other Native people who felt that they were going to ruin everything they felt they had worked for. They were proud to be Americans and had no problem reciting the pledge of allegiance and saluting the flag that waved over their dead ancestors. However, the traditional elders, Chiefs and spiritual leaders stood with these young men and women.

From reservations and other Native communities, young men began to wear their hair long, young women began beading, and they sought out their spiritual ways of life. Not since the days of the boarding school where the Indian was beaten out of the children did such new-found pride in spiritual and cultural identity spread like wildfire. The violence perpetuated by the federal government could not extinguish the resurgence. If nothing else, it only inspired more to join the front lines to stand for their people against the theft of their lands, the sterilization of Indian woman and to protect their natural resources.

It has been nearly four decades since that time, and as I heard back then, I still hear it now: “We can’t changed the past,” “You can’t dwell on the negative,” or “We have to let go and move on.” These voices of resignation, surrender and defeat are one of a sense of disempowerment. These people know some of the wrongs that have been done, but feel there is nothing that can be done to make a difference. Some are from those with mixed bloods without a traditional upbringing that brings about a conflicted feeling of which side to choose. I don’t like labeling, but these are the voices of American Indians/Native Americans. They display the symptoms of generational/historical trauma from being conditioned to think of themselves in terms of being Americans. Without a cultural/spiritual baseline to understand the past, there is no future for them, other than to be Americans.

I believe it was Sitting Bull who was quoted as saying, “It isn’t necessary for eagles to be crows.”  So while we cannot change what happened in history, we can expose the myths of the history that has been taught to our people – and to the public at large. If there had been a truthful understanding in their language, things could be so different now.

Winona LaDuke said that the only remedy for stolen lands is the return of those lands, meaning as Native people we have a rightful place in this country, but the government’s position has been to keep us marginalized as wards of the federal government. In the recent decision to approve the Cobell Settlement, one obvious fact that was ignored occurred when I appeared in the DC federal court and objected to the continued supervision of the Department of the Interior through the Bureau of Indian Affairs over our resources and trust accounts. They have been accused of embezzling $176 billion dollars, but the settlement awards only $1.5 billion to trust account holders, while $2 billion goes to the Interior Department to purchase select fractionated lands to give to the tribal governments, which may be leased to corporations for exploration and mining. Unused funds by the Interior Department revert back to the U.S. Treasury. However, payments from this settlement have been placed on hold until an appeal is resolved. (One round of payments, a second round has yet to be disbursed)

It would have been an important victory had the courts ruled the guardian (U.S.) be removed from administering the trust of its wards (Natives), and the BIA dissolved, thereby freeing Native people from this form of subjugation. In any other case where violations of this trust were to occur, they would have been removed and prosecuted. Instead, the court approved a settlement, which amounts to a historic cover-up.

This opportunity for freedom from the federal government was possibly the closest we had ever been. Had more Native people been fully aware of the consequences, it could have been brought to a head.  Which brings us to an important point, if we won our freedom tomorrow, what will it look like? So many of our people have lost their traditional ways, we have been dispersed across the country that we have lost that sense of community involvement. The remaining strongholds are the reservations where ceremonies and language is still practiced, the Iroquois Confederacy still have their Great Law. All of which is critical to maintaining a form of self-governance, how many of us are ready, how many of us have yet to rebuild our own internal systems or will some of us emulate the systems imposed on us by the federal government? It is a question where there is not a consensus, but one we should address in the very near future.

We cannot change history, but we can change the future direction of where the federal government wants us to go. We can do this by freeing our minds from years of conditioning and assimilation; we don't have to think as Americans; we can think according to our traditional principles and philosophies. We can move beyond race and examine the elements of the mentality of greed that contradicts those beliefs we hold.

So who are we? We each need to look closer within, without anger, but a genuine search for the truth of how we came to be the person we are today. I’ve done this and my answer is that I am not an American Indian, Native American or an American, but “Chahta Sa Hoke” (I am Choctaw), but first and foremost, I am a human being. It is no easy task to unlearn the myths we have been taught, but it is where we must start to determine our future."

(This article was first published in Whisper n Thunder 1/2012)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What would you do with $310 million?

What started as a musing question on Facebook had to be moved to my blog. There just wasn't enough room to post my thoughts there.

Last night the Powerball was at $250 million, but with no winners, it jumped up by $60 million to the 5th largest Powerball Jackpot. And if no one wins on Saturday, it is conceivable that the next Jackpot could jump to over $400 million.

Here in Oklahoma, we have the option of cash or annuity payments. The future is uncertain, so if I won, I would opt for a cash payment, which would be in the amount of $193.4 million. I don't know how much more will be taken by taxes, but how much money does a person really need?

First, I learned from watching a documentary about big winners who went broke after a year or two, They squandered their money on expensive useless things to give them a sense of status, got conned out of their money, or drugs devoured it. They talked about all the letters they received from people they didn't know with a sob story and if they could send them some money. Relatives they never knew they had came out of the woodworks wanting a piece of them.

The safety of my family is my first priority, if I won, I would not claim the money in my name. I'd set up a trust through an attorney to protect our privacy, and the jackpot would be collected in that manner. I wouldn't brag about it, but I would get busy of pursuing my dreams and visions.

Some, and in no particular order, are listed below"

  • Establish a scholarship after securing commitments from a university or college, professors and other professionals to develop a curriculum of governmental studies based upon traditional Native philosophies & principles to provide our people with leaders who won't just go along with the system. These graduates would be the ones who may run for public office from municipalities to federal offices, including the White House. It isn't enough to support a person just because he or she has Native blood, it would take more than that, otherwise they are no different than any other politician. But they cannot do it alone, so on to my next vision.
  • In a collective effort, create a political party that is based upon Native philosophies and principles that is open to everyone. Regardless of race, sex and even tribe, we are confronted with a system that does not want to accept, let alone allow change in the way things are. Somehow, we need to arrive at a point where we can elect enough people to establish a majority.
  • Another project is to incorporate a business that builds alternative homes utilizing alternative forms of energy. As a model, I'd purchase a square mile of land, and conduct training workshops on how to create an entire community using these principles. Then I would assist the trainees in setting up branch offices and help in getting them started to where they could have an income to keep the business afloat, while training people in their communities to propagate this work.
  • The community created here through this training would be open to a committed group of people who wants to live in this way, maintain a community garden, self-govern through consensus. I attempted this once, but no one was willing to let go of their comfort zone and help to build from scratch. This community would be a model for others to follow. I've got a few friends who are trying to do this already and I wish them much success. And if I win, they can count on my support, but they will never know it is me!
  • Another thing I would embark upon is running for Chief. Having access to funds would allow me to reach as many tribal members as possible to campaign. We have over 200,000 members, and as a challenging candidate, we do not have access to the voters registration list. The incumbents have the advantage of the tribal paper being sent to members with the Chief and council having their names mentioned in every issue. During elections, the candidates may get a mention once, but not for their issues, just that they are the challengers. The paper refuses to publish anything negative about the Chief, Assistant Chief or the Council, so readers assume they are doing a fine job. Yet, I hear many complain of abuses, but fear to speak out because of retaliation in different forms. We would like to see more transparency and accountability in the Choctaw Nation, and we'll need to find a way to make a change in this system with or without the finances to do it.
  • There is a need for non-profit social service programs, with properly trained people to manage it. So I would establish a foundation to help with start-ups and serve as an umbrella. For example, years ago, I spoke with someone as to how bad the need was for suitable Native foster families to take in Native children through the Indian Child Welfare Act. He said it is huge, and that he gets asked quite often by judges if there is a list of Native families who have been pre-screened and received some training to comply with the intent of the ICWA. Another aspect is to develop agencies that move beyond "band-aid" type of approaches that can have lasting effects: women shelters and rehab centers, are two examples. I'd want to see a place that does more than just give them temporary refuge or a place to clean up, but to follow up in providing the skills they need until they have attained individual stability. Otherwise, we see a revolving door effect, which the children sees and often emulates.
  • A media center that can allow journalists the ability to cover and report the news without being censored for telling the truth. You definitely would not see ads recruiting for the CIA, FBI, or Homeland Security! There are many reporters out there, good people, but they have to operate on a shoestring budget, if they even have that. Print, audio or visual, we could use a media outlet to bring our stories and perceptions mainstream.
  • Something for the youth that I would love to do is hold summer encampments for cultural immersion, self-reliance and esteem building experiences. Also do training on organizing events, demonstrations,  or other activities to effect change in their communities. If we had the means to bring them together to empower them to present their voice, our future leaders would have a better foundation to build upon.

These are just some examples of what I could do with $310 million. I've never been afraid to dream big, because the picture has always been bigger than me. I'll agree that money won't buy me happiness, but it will give me the means to begin to start making a difference. Maybe those of us who live near each other should create a pool to increase our chances. After all someone has to win sooner or later!

So what would you do if you won a huge jackpot like this?

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Cobell Four: standing firm for justice

There is no doubt about how important the Cobell case is to so many people, but take a moment to weigh how really important this case is, and if the settlement is really the kind of justice your ancestors really deserve? I know some people have been upset with some of the class members appealing the settlement and putting the disbursement checks on hold indefinitely. I've spoken with a few people who have said that in some cases, they weren't allowed to file their own lawsuit, and if they did, it was consolidated in the Cobell case. The first round of hearings is scheduled for February 16, in Washington, DC.

I wrote about my experience and thoughts from the hearing last summer in Washington, DC. It was really long, but you cannot detail it simply, so I'll try it here, but you can read more at this link:

This morning, Tim Giago wrote a piece about the "Cobell Four" and I'm indebted to him for inspiring me to write in support of Kimberly Cravens, Carol Good Bear, Mary Lee Johns, and Charles Colombe. I would also encourage other writers to consider writing about the settlement.

The necessity for creating this awareness isn't something trivial. Recently, the Cobell attorneys publicly released the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the Cobell Four, and told people to ask them why they were not getting their settlement checks. This action resulted in threatening and harassing phone calls. “To put my name out there for the public, I think that's scary that these attorneys would use this tactic and intimidate me into dropping my appeal,” (Carol Good Bear) said. “I don't have protection. If somebody is upset about all this and comes at me with a gun, what am I supposed to do?” Since then, their names have been removed from the letter.

Now lets' take a look at this objectively. These attorneys, Dennis Gingold, et al., are attorneys, and it is difficult to understand that they could not explain the basis of the appeal to the members of the Cobell class members. Instead, they said "Ask them!" Pretty childish way to address a question. I feel it has more to do with the fact that any changes to the settlement would scuttlebutt their multi-million dollar payday! This tactic was a way to "punish" the Cobell Four for holding up the settlement. We usually call it divide and conquer, where you manipulate a group of people to turn on each other. With actions by these attorneys, they are worse than the snake-oil salesman I compared them to.

According to the Native Times article:

"Each objector is appealing the settlement for his or her own reasons. Craven and Johns both say the settlement does not include an accounting for how much money was lost, which is what Cobell originally set out to accomplish, and that many class members did not understand that they could have opted out of the deal.

Johns and Good Bear both object to the class of landowners that the settlement creates, saying each is different and their claims should be assessed differently. Johns added that the tribes should have been involved in the process from the beginning, not just individuals."
Internet gossip states that they are only after more money. A few months ago, I spoke with a woman whose family has been fighting to be paid from a mining company that has been taken resources from their lands, which would amount to millions. When she contacted Gingold about opting out and why, she said Gingold told her that he would fight her on it. When the Cobell Four were filing their appeals, Gingold attempted to force them to put up a multi-million dollar surety bond. The court ruled against this request.

Here are just a few of the points about why the settlement is like a term of surrender, and more info on the settlement can be found at

  • The federal government violated a trust, and in any case where this happens, the guardian is removed from that position. IN the early 1800's, we were decreed to be wards of the federal government, and that is why our lands are restricted or held in trust, and have Individual Indian Money Accounts. That is also why they manage our natural resources. If they were removed, they would lose control of this power. I objected and ask for dissolution of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but it was ignored.
  • The 3.4 billion doesn't all come to us, only 1.4 billion. The Interior Department will be given 2 billion to purchase selected fractionated lands, which they state will be given to the tribes. My feeling is that these selected fractionated lands will be high in natural resources, and the tribe will be leasing to some corporation with the Interior Department in the middle.
  • Any unused funds from the Interiors 2 billion will revert back to the US Treasury.
  • If an heir to fractionated lands cannot be found, his share will be purchased anyway. And if that person does not claim his money within 5 years, it is taken out.
  • Another aspect that I raised in conjunction with the forced sale of these fractionated lands is that we have an inherent right of sovereignty attached to these lands. The real estate will be purchased at fair market value, but what is the fair market value of sovereignty? Also, didn't we once care for these lands in common, the fractionation didn't become an issue until the government made it one. When these lands are gone, it is gone.
  • The 60 million dollar education fund? Lets assume four years of college is $20,000 as an average. Do the math and tell me how many students will go to college on just 60 million. You'll find that it doesn't even make a drop in the bucket.
  • And opting out was a very difficult decision for many to make in light of the likelihood another attorney would take a case that resulted in a settlement that took over 14 years. And some were not allowed to opt out or didn't understand they could. It would have been better if the decision was made first if the settlement was approved or not, before allowing people the choice to opt out.
  • And of the 1.4 billion awarded, subtract the expenses the attorneys, which will make it 1.3 billion, and then all the associated costs with the administration of cutting checks. The likelihood of the settlement running out of money before everyone is compensated is real.
  • One of the bad deals is that everyone will waive any claims to sue the government if they discover that they were ripped off for millions and can then prove it. They will have accepted their small checks and it is over.

These are just some of the downfalls to the Cobell Settlement. Some people will get more than the $1,500 people have heard about. I could use even that amount, I won't lie, but I don't believe that is what our ancestors suffered for all across this land in trying to hold on to what we have left, nor is it what our children deserve. I hear a lot of arguments that we can't wait because people are dying who will never see a check. You know what? People have been dying since this injustice started over a hundred years ago. It isn't about us, it is about our children and this lawsuit was about getting a full accounting so we could have justice for once.

Only for lack of having the finances to file my own appeal, the Cobell attorneys could not put my name out there as a target. My communications to the court went unanswered as to whether I could file an appeal without paying fees. I couldn't afford justice, but fortunately these four warriors have stood up for us and maybe this despicable settlement will be scrapped, and the fight for true justice may continue.

And for all those who are badmouthing and threatening these people, three whom are women, I know your mother did not raise you to threaten or speak badly of women like these. You only bring shame to your family and your nation. This is not how Native people are suppose to act, like rats being thrown pieces of rotten meat to turn on another. I expect better than that, so remember who you are and that this battle is for the birthright of our future generations!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Punished for saying "Hello" & "I love you" in a Native Language!

Hopefully, many of you have heard about the story of a 12 year old Menominee  girl, Miranda Washinawatok, who was benched from a basketball game simply because she shared a couple of words from her language that means "Hello" and "I love you". The school has apologized, but this just doesn't seem to be sufficient. Many other Native people and myself have suffered at the hands of teachers just because we spoke our language, and this has been ongoing since the boarding school days in the 1800's.

This story compelled me to send an email to the Principal, Daniel Minter, which I have posted below. If you have a mind to send a message, here is the contact info for the Principal & school:

Daniel Minter:

Sacred Heart Catholic School

124 E. Center St.
Shawano WI 54166

school website:

And please feel free to share through your networks!

Dear Mr. Minter:Through the Internet, I, as well as many other people have became aware of the trauma suffered by Ms. Washinawatok, due to the immature actions of a couple of your staff members. for simply sharing her language.
This is a matter where I feel decisive action is necessary. If the teacher who heard this would have conducted herself like a teacher, with patience and compassion, instead out of anger, the results could have been different. The second teacher who joined in and ganged up on a 12 year old would have taken the same tact, then again, a different result would have ensued. But to go to the coach and enact a form of summary punishment by benching her goes beyond reason! I would expect, even for  private school, there would be some form of due process to ensure fairness before someone is penalized.
The schools actions should include discipline for the teachers involved such as anger management training, cultural sensitivity training and maybe even host an event to honor the memory of Ingrid Washinawatok who lost her life in Columbia South America 13 years ago this month when she was kidnapped by the FARC guerilla's and executed. She was there to assist the Uwa people in establishing a school to protect their culture and their "Language". I hope that you do not miss the irony in this, no matter how tragic.
The summary disciplinary action taken against this young woman is a traumatic form of abuse. I speak form experience as to the punishment and humiliation I was subjected to by my first grade teacher for speaking my language. Just look at the facts, what basis did either of the teachers have to warrant suspicion that there was any element of a threat in merely sharing Menominee words that says "Hello" and "I love you" to justify their actions.
I feel that an apology from the school should go beyond words in a letter. Appreciate that you have taken the time t read my message.
Sincerely,Ben CarnesChahta (Choctaw) NationBroken Bow, Okla Hummv (Indian Territory)

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Confiscated Identities" Excerpt:Whisper n Thunder

‎"The audacity of these young Native men and women assuming militant and unyielding positions not only embarrassed and angered the federal government, but it shocked other Native people who felt that they were going to ruin everything they felt they had worked for. They were proud to be Americans and had no problem reciting the pledge of allegiance and saluting the flag. However, the traditional elders, Chiefs and spiritual leaders stood with them..." Read more of Ben Carnes' article in this issue of Whisper n Thunder by clicking on the link below. Hope you'll sign our Guest Book and look around the ezine while you're there..."

This is from an article I wrote for Whisper n Thunder sharing my thoughts on a subject that has divided Native people through the assimilation process. Read more at this link:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Are you Choctaw, then lets connect!

I have a blog at where I'll begin to publish articles relating to the Chahta people. There are more than 200,000 of us and I know it is a challenging task since not each of us use the computer, but I'd like to begin developing demographics as we go on, share articles and news with you about other Chahta's and the business of the Nation.

As a writer, I often have a different perception and if it is my opinion, I'll state so. If it is fact, then I'll provide you with a source, but I'll also share with you the opinions of others. As Choctaw and Native people, we all have a common bond with one another. I hold the belief that from the past we can begin to plan our future from today, and from where I sit, our future looks pretty good.

You can do two things to help me start, one is to send me an email with "Chahta" in the subject line, and subscribe to my blog so you will receive automatic updates. The email is to help me begin organizing a database of Chahta people from around the world. Eventually, I'll begin to break it down by states, registered voters, and ages. This will help to give us a picture of where we are and what we can do for one another. So whatever social network you are on, please feel free to share this and we'll see how fast we can grow over the coming weeks. I anticipate my first article will come after the council meeting in February so hurry and pass this around! Yakoke!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Online Choctaw Language Classes starting in February

Registration for the spring class has begun. First class for the online community will be February.20.2012. Send names, ages, mailing address for all that will be participating in your house hold to : 

Yannash Scott, a certified Choctaw Language instructor, conducts this course and it allows you to work at your own pace.

He has several Youtube videos’ demonstrating the use of the language, even in contemporary music, such as this one. 

And an aid to pronounce our words

We have over 200,000 Choctaws around the world, 10 in Rhode Island, and even one in Iran! So feel free to share, some Choctaw might appreciate it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Remembering Frances Wise: a proud Indian woman

RIP 1943-2011

When I heard you went home to be with our ancestors, I was stunned. Its going to be hard knowing my Sister isn’t here with us anymore, although I know you will be here in spirit. I was looking forward to coming to pay my respects, but circumstances arose that I could not make the trip across the state to spend this time with you and your family.

So many thoughts went through my mind as I reminisced. I remember your words when the Norman Chamber of Commerce asked the students at OU to come in regalia and dance at their 89’er centennial Land Run Celebration. You cut right through when you said, “How dare they ask us to come and dance upon the graves of our ancestors!” I remember sacrificing my semester on academic probation to travel around to make our counter-demonstration happen. Then on the morning we were to begin our walk from Capitol Hill to the state capitol, I was content to stand back and let you and others take the lead, but you stuck the bullhorn in my hand and said “We’re ready when you are!” It was a proud day for Indian people in Oklahoma! We started off with about 60 people, but by the time we completed the 5-mile trek to the capitol, we were at 500+.

I can’t even begin to remember how many times we went to the capitol to deal with the governor, legislative bills or something. It was always something we were there for to speak up for Indian people. You were there long before I ever got my act together, coordinating for the warriors in Wounded Knee in 73, fighting for women and children in Oklahoma City, and on and on. As I look back on the years, you gave and sacrificed a lot for the people. You were an example and role model for so many, I hope they remember and help to carry on.

There is no way I can even begin to tell your story, you shared so many with me over the years. I am very thankful for the education. I am forever grateful that I can call you family among so many others from this place called Oklahoma, such as Carter Camp & family, Richard Ray Whitman, David Hill, Pat Moss, Jackie Warledo, Glenda Deer and so many others. Your stories are important for all of us to know, and I hope that the stories will be shared many times so that our children and their children will know the sacrifices that were made for them.

I just wanted to thank you for being the proud Indian woman that you are, and what you have done for us. Now, we’ll warrior up and tighten our ranks until a young woman or man comes with that fighting spirit that you shared with many. I'll see you later and I loved you a lot!